rockwool project with viewworld

Rockwool works with Viewworld

The Rockwool Foundation is an independent Foundation, which focuses on socioeconomic research and practical experiments with the purpose of generating knowledge and new interventions. A smaller part of the Foundation’s funds goes to grants that promote help to self- help and social entrepreneurship. One example of a small grant is the project ‘Improved Concrete Cooking Stoves in Tanzania’. In that project the ViewWorld app is an important tool for real time progress monitoring.

Project with a purpose

The project is managed by the retired Danish school teacher Mr. Esben Røjel who has developed an innovative model for a durable locally produced stove for firewood. The stove can especially benefit poor households as this new type of stoves fitted with a chimney can substitute the commonly used traditional three stone fire place. The traditional fireplace solution is dangerous to people’s health because of the smoke that is inhaled as it fills the kitchen and other rooms in the house.

Improving health

Nearly half the world’s population eat meals cooked over open fires. According to the WHO the exposure to smoke causes over 4 million premature deaths annually and contributes to a range of chronic illnesses and acute adverse impact on the health. The newly developed stove has an integrated chimney, securing that smoke does not get into the kitchen. The stove has therefore an immediate impact on the Tanzanians’ health, by moving the smoke out of the hut – thus avoiding permanent damage to eyes and lungs among the adults and children living in the household.

Conserving trees

At the same time in Africa deforestation is a huge problem and a disturbing amount of trees are cut down in in order to get firewood and charcoal for cooking purpose. This new stove has the potential to reduce the consumption of firewood substantially which in turn helps to protect the local environment, and bring down the problem of deforestation. Hence this innovative stove is environmentally friendly, cost efficient and health improving.

Cost efficient

The goal of the project is to establish some 400-500 stoves in 2015 – and learn more about how well the innovation works. Right now some 50 stoves are established in Tanzania. It cost around 10 dollars to make a stove, which is the same amount a typical family in the targeted semi-urban area spends on firewood each month. If the stove reduces the wood consumption by close to 50%, as some of the women testify, the investment in the stove can potentially pay for itself in just a few months. The financial benefits are therefore considerable for the average Tanzanian family. This cost benefit ratio will be further evaluated once a good number of stoves are established in urban and rural communities.

Monitoring using the ViewWorld app

ViewWorld’s mobile data collection solution is selected as the primary tool for monitoring. The ViewWorld solution enables the project manager to see the progress of the project in real time. Using the smart phone based system, the project manager can take a picture of each stove with a member of the family, and as the image is stored and exported an exact GPS location of where the stove is installed is automatically attached. Previously, such real-time monitoring was tedious and involved the use of pen, paper and camera in the field and subsequent typing into word documents before sending a report via mail. With the introduction of ViewWorld this information is now digital and only a click away. All reporting is done by uploading on the spot using the 3G network which is widespread in Tanzania. Elimination of paper from the data collection process has secured a precise and timely flow of information on the progress of the project – resulting in no details being lost in tedious paperwork.

The ViewWorld solution

Jens Vesterager, Programme Manager at The Rockwool Foundation finds that ViewWorld’s app is a very useful tool for this task. The project manager operating in Tanzania collects field data using the app on their smartphones. The ViewWorld system then stores and exports the collected data, and makes sure the information is immediately available for further analysis and reporting.